The Protector (1985) – Jackie Chan

7/10 – This movie is mildly entertaining. One of Jackie Chan’s early English movies. If you’re a fan of Jackie Chan and are bored, this movie can be mildly enjoyable to watch. Also featuring Bill ‘Superfoot’ Wallace as the main antagonist who fights – they meet near the end, like a final boss scene. The plot is thin and the acting is nothing special, but Jackie brings his usual energy this film. As it’s one of his earlier movies, he’s still trying to establish himself so he’s very acrobatic in his fight scenes but they’re not so cleverly arranged as in the more recent higher-budget movies where he has more control and confidence, and for the same reason he’s a bit more serious, there’s less of the cheesy humour that he becomes known for in his later movies. There’s also more blasphemy (from Jackie) and more nudity (moderate female nudity) than you might expect, as well as depictions of drugs (packing, not consuming) and an ugly murder scene (with a utensil lodged in an eye). But there’s nothing terribly unsuitable for guided family viewing except for the most young or conservative of households who might prefer something more classy, less explicit or less ‘vice’ themed.

What’s incredible is Jackie was well aware of all the flaws I’ve mentioned, and had disagreements with the director over them. They reached a compromise where the director’s cut went out to American audiences but Jackie’s own personal edit was released in Cantonese for Hong Kong audiences. Jackie’s version had a deeper plot, more attention to detail in fight scenes (often completely re-shot for the Cantonese version), faster action scenes, less nudity and less blasphemy (Cantonese dubbing often completely changed the dialogue, not only removing curse words). But there’s no dubs or subs needed for the American version, as The Protector is an English-first movie with a 50-50 mix of American and Asian actors.

This was Jackie Chan’s 2nd attempt to breakthrough to the American market and was a mild success (both in Hong Kong and America) and an improvement on his first attempt (The Big Brawl, 1980) even while being so unhappy with the American director James Glickenhaus who, in an interview in 1985, assured the world that the American audience will never sit still for Jackie’s style of action!